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Basic question to begin planning

Mumbai (Bombay...
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167 posts
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Basic question to begin planning


My wife and I have just started thinking about a trip to New Zealand. The idea is to soak in the natural beauty of the country, and not adventure sports or trekking. To help me get a basic idea, will appreciate if you guys can help me with the following:

1) The window of opportunity that we have is in May 2012. is that a good time to visit NZ?

2) We will have around 10 days to spend there. Are they enough? The universal viewpoint on this forum seems to be that for such a time period, one should just stick to South Islands, correct? Also, the flights to Queenstown are working out to be extremely expensive from India, what are the options for getting to the heart of south islands from the Auckland airport, which is much cheaper for us?

3) Self-drive seems to be the only option being discussed here. But is it possible to do this trip by public transport only?

Once we get this basic idea, we'll start planning in earnest. Any site you would recommend for the same?

Thanks a lot in advance.


Destination Expert
for New South Wales, Noosa
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1. Re: Basic question to begin planning

10 days, yes one Island would be best.....though if you arrive Auckland (North Is) and stay a night or two and then flew to the South, that works too - it would limit amount of travel time for the South.

By May with shorter days, colder weather and such, I am not convinced I would choose the South. BUT this is YOUR trip, and coming from India a cooler climate holiday might appeal.

To check airfares within NZ, www.webjet.co.nz, though once you find a good price I'd book it direct in the airlines own website. (webjet gets the best online price from there, and add their own booking fee on top - of course the airline will have credit card surcharges too).

A random May date check (8th and 17th) brought up $111 each way with Jetstar, and somewhat higher with Air NZ. You might see cheaper ($99), it is carry on bag only.

I have travelled by public transport, buses are usually only one per day on many sectors. The disadvantage, you miss the opportunity to stop and look for a few minutes at the numerous 'sights/sites' along the way.

www.intercity.co.nz and www.nakedbus.co.nz work for me. Both have a promotional $1 seat (1 only on each trip) if you book far enough ahead. Intercity that could be now as tickets seem to be available indefinite time ahead. Nakedbus are only sellling until Feb at present - signing up for their emails will get you the advice when new dates are released. My preference is for Intercity, for one reason only - many of their drivers also drive (or did drive) for the sister touring company Newmans, and thus quite often the drivers will do some commentary whilst driving point to point on Intercity services too.

it would be possible in 10 days to have 4 or 5 in Queenstown and then bus to the Glaciers, and either to Greymouth for a train to Christchurch, or continue by bus further north to Nelson for flights to Auckland. That is also a possibly driving option too.

Whangarei, Northland
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2. Re: Basic question to begin planning

Hi there

With 10 days, definitely stick to just 1 island, but this could just as easily be the North Island as the South Island.

If the flights work better coming into Auckland, then I would stick with the North Island.

Bus travel using Inter City or Naked Bus is possible, but with such a short visit I personally wouldn't recommend this as travel is more time consuming and timings for buses are limiting - self drive will give you much better flexibility and enable you to get efficiently from place to place.

South Island
Destination Expert
for South Island
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3. Re: Basic question to begin planning

There are very cheap flights from Auckland to Queenstown if you book direct with Jetstar. May will start to get colder especially down South but its a good time to travel as its very quiet and no need to book ahead for accommodation.

If you are into the natural beauty of this country Fiordland Queenstown West coast and Able Tasman are places you should consider.

Mumbai (Bombay...
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4. Re: Basic question to begin planning

Thanks a lot guys. I checked again, and Christchurch airport works out to be in the same expense zone as Auckland, so we can directly get into the South islands. If public transport is that big a disadvantage, would it make sense to take a coach tour? And can you guys suggest a reliable operator with reasonable budget? I know self-drive is the best way to cover the country, but we have never driven outside India before, and anyways, I can't drive, only my wife does, and such long distances with only one person driving is slightly unfair on her :-(

The cold weather is actually an advantage as far as we are concerned, as dev1236 rightly mentioned, coming from India, the cold is something we would look forward to!

5. Re: Basic question to begin planning

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